M.anifest wows the crowd at the Cedar Saturday Night

MUSIC REVIEW | Socially conscious rapper M.anifest rocks The Cedar as part of the African Summer series

At first I was wondering if M.anifest’s June 15 performance was going to be cancelled as only about a dozen people were there at the beginning of the show, the second in The Cedar’s African Summer series. Then the opening act, Minneapolis local, Ashley Dubose, came on stage and was so personable and sweet that it didn’t matter how many people stood around as she did a fantastic job to create a feel good atmosphere for the main act.Ashley especially connected with the group with her song “Life Goes On.” Her style is neo-soul and reminded me a bit of Nelly Furtado when she sang “Like a Bird.” It was touching to see her mom out in support of her. As she continued to sing her repertoire for the night, the crowd began to build and by the end of her set, everyone was glad to be there.About ten minutes after Ashley left the stage, M.anifest came out, and there were applause and shouts of joy from the crowd of fans. Not knowing what to expect as the last time I listened to rap music was way back to the Sugarhill Gang, I was more than pleasantly surprised with the songs and sounds of M.anifest. Continue Reading

Brother Ali speaks to the student protesters outside Macalester's administrative building

COMMUNITY VOICES | Brother Ali visits student protesters at Macalester College

Minnesota-based hip hop artist, Brother Ali, made an impromptu visit to a group of student activists protesting the administration’s relationship with Wells Fargo bank on Wednesday. Brother Ali, who continues to be active in the Occupy Homes MN movement, spoke to the students on the steps of Weyerhaeuser, Macalester College’s administrative building.The contingent of student protesters is associated with Occupy Homes MN and opposes the college’s partnership with Wells Fargo due to the bank’s foreclosure practices. The students launched a sit-in earlier this week, occupying the administrative building since 10 a.m., Tuesday.“What we’re really supposed to be doing is educating leaders for the future,” said Ali of higher education, “so what you’re doing is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.”He added, “Students were the bulk of energy in the civil rights movement; students ended the war in Vietnam effectively; students have done a whole lot throughout time, and so this is a part of a legacy that you’re adding onto.”The student group brought their grievances to the attention of the administration months ago, beginning a yearlong dialogue about potential divestment from Wells Fargo and a reallocation of funds to a community bank. Dissatisfied with the pace of reform, the students issued a deadline to the administration for a final decision to be announced on Thursday, April 18.In response to the demands Macalester CFO, David Wheaton and Assistant Vice President for Finance, Kate Walker released a memo on behalf of the administration describing in detail their reasons for maintaining their business with Wells Fargo. While accurate data is difficult to access, they acknowledged that Wells Fargo may be the biggest forecloser in the state of Minnesota, but added that this may be a factor of Wells Fargo’s large market share, as opposed to a matter of aggressive policies particular to the bank.The memo noted that 70% of Wells Fargo’s mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that those institutions are responsible for setting policy regarding foreclosure. Continue Reading